It was with great interest that I read Robin McBain's letter (NCE 15 March) and the reply from Richard Thomas (NCE 22 March). From personal experience it is clear there is a divide between companies willing to invest in student engineers and those which do not.
Living in Exeter, where the main consultants only have medium to small sized offices placed me at a disadvantage last summer when I sought work experience. I, like Robin McBain, wrote to a great number of firms.
I consider myself a relatively good student with work experience good performance at the University of Nottingham.
It was disappointing therefore that many of the firms I wrote to did not even reply to my request for work experience.
The two top firms in the area, Oscar Faber and WS Atkins, did take the trouble to reply and this led to an eventual placement with WS Atkins.
I feel I was one of the lucky ones. But the placement certainly confirmed my choice of profession. It was very rewarding to see the university course applied and to pick up skills which cannot be attained in a lecture theatre.
The industry continues to discuss the apparent desertion of the top university students into more profitable work. I believe that were these students given the opportunity for work experience, more may become aware of the job satisfaction possible.
Daniel Lee, second year civil engineer, University of Nottingham email@example.com